Not Overwhelmed by the Tribe

We are all equal. However, some people still experience considerable unfair discrimination. While it is easy to respond to this with an attempt to forcibly rebalance the world, this will only be counter-productive. Instead we must live the diversity we wish to support.

On the surface Hobson’s talk seems to call for the positive discrimination I have previously rejected.

However, below the surface is a more nuanced call for diversity.

There will be few—if any—readers who will take objection to me saying either that Hobson probably knew several single black men so wasn’t forced to marry a white man, or that she didn’t marry him because he was white.

Indeed her own words explain her reasons:

My husband, who happens to be white…

His race was an irrelevance.

Obviously his race will have had some impact on shaping his character, but race is too broad a trait to call a primary factor.

Take as an example, being black: are a Somali warlord and Brian from university fundamentally similar people because they are both genetically black?

Of course not. Their life experiences are vastly different, so their characters are different. Assuming they will be similar because of race is exactly the prejudice that obstructs equality.

Hobson’s call for diversity in the workplace is the same rejection of racial discrimination.

Recruiting a candidate on the basis they are both from an under-represented group and the best person for the job is only a contradiction if you exclude the benefit of diverse life experiences from the criteria for best person.

This expanding of perspectives also resolves the issue of competing minority criteria: instead race and gender being separate boxes to be ticked for surface conformity, they are part of a single multi-dimensional perspective.

We will not end discrimination by discriminating on a different set of criteria.

We will end discrimination by treating each person as an individual, who happens to have a gender, race, religion, shoe size…

Do you believe we should discriminate against certain groups to benefit others? Do you think having a different perspective is not a benefit?

5 thoughts on “Not Overwhelmed by the Tribe

  1. I think positive discrimination has its place. For instance, here in Norway a reporter sent out two identical CVs. One said Petter, one said Mohammed and he sent them to over a thousand job openings.

    Petter got a large number of requests for an interview. Mohammed got none. Sometimes people are going to be small-minded until someone forces them to open their eyes. If one of those employers had hired a Mohammed, then every one of their employees might get a positive experience of someone from a different background.

    There have to be limits to it, though, and a goal. You have to do more than just positive discrimination. If a group of people are starting at a disadvantage, you have to give them every possibility for a couple of generations and then expect that they’ll stand on their own two feet after that.

    But to get to that point, there has to be more than lip-service. It has to be a concerted effort.


    1. I disagree that the correct response to that is positive discrimination. If you have a law saying people have to employ a percentage from a particular group they will box tick: “we have 30% female staff”, “we were forced to not fill the vacancy because no Asians applied”


      1. It’s far from ideal, but I’m not sure what the alternative is. Let an entire group of people be doomed to poverty their whole lives because of their name or colour of their skin?

        Like most things, education is key. The higher the general education of a populace, the less xenophobia there tends to be, imo.


        1. As you say, education is key: we show that diversity is better than prejudice economically and socially as well as from a liberal perspective.

          Fighting fire with fire might produce change, but still means things are burning: we need to work towards integration, not giving a different group privilege.

          Liked by 1 person

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